Religion News Service: In-depth. Impartial. Engaged.

Press Releases

AVI CHAI Fellowships Announced

8 May

For Immediate Release


New York, NY (May 8, 2008) -- The AVI CHAI Foundation has announced that it is allocating up to $1.15 million over the course of the next three years to four individuals and one team of two whom it has selected as the first recipients of The AVI CHAI Fellowship.

This program is unique and constitutes the largest cash award to emerging communal and educational leaders within the North American Jewish community. It has been approved for three award cycles with a financial commitment of approximately $3 million.

A press conference is planned for Monday, May 12th at 2:30 pm at the offices of The AVI CHAI Foundation at 1015 Park Avenue, at the corner of 85th Street (entrance on 85th Street). At that time, the names of the winners will be announced and press will have an opportunity to meet with them and hear from AVI CHAI leadership about the terms and parameters of the fellowship.

More than 40 nominations were submitted by twenty nominators (18 located in the United States and 2 in Israel) and the seven members of the selection committee met privately over the course of four months. The AVI CHAI Fellowship was kept under wraps and the nominators and selections committee remained anonymous so that the integrity of the nomination and selection process not be compromised.

Only when the pool was winnowed down to seven nominees was their involvement solicited. The winners were informed of their achievement in late April.

The AVI CHAI Foundation occupies a singular spot in North American Jewish life, defining its goals as fostering high levels of Jewish Literacy; deepening Religious Purposefulness and promoting Jewish Peoplehood and deeper connections to the State of Israel.

AVI CHAI works toward achieving these goals via (1) supporting programs in the Jewish day school and camping fields, (2) strengthening key institutions in these fields, and (3) engaging partners and successors.

"By engaging partners and successors," explains Yossi Prager, AVI CHAI's Executive Director in North America, "we mean identifying and cultivating philanthropists, thought leaders and practitioners who advance our core goals, within and beyond the fields of our programmatic activities."

This is an especially important strategy of the Foundation in light of its decision to spend down its assets and close its doors by 2020.

"Although the Foundation will cease making grants in 2020," explains Arthur Fried, AVI CHAI's Chairman, "its work will be far from completed, for the challenges that confront the Jewish communities where we work are perpetual. It is our desire that the work not end -- rather that it be continued by others, who perhaps will be animated by what we have started, and by the standards we have tried to set."
"The AVI CHAI Fellowship is intended to be a vehicle for investing in people with vision, creativity, courage, savvy and stamina to try new things, to think outside the conventional boxes or inside them in new ways, and to see opportunities where others see obstacles," he added.

Each of the AVI CHAI Fellows has demonstrated a track record of commitment towards these ends and although the award - $75K per fellow or team per year - will go towards their proposed activities, the purpose of The AVI CHAI Fellowship is to advance and promote the individual winners as important forces in building a vital American Jewish future built upon these values.

The fellowship program has been approved for three consecutive award cycles, with the possibility of renewal.

A press conference announcing and introducing the first AVI CHAI Fellows is scheduled by Monday, May 12th at 2:30 p.m. Reservations are required and no one will be admitted without prior approval. The AVI CHAI Foundation is located at 1015 Park Avenue at 85th Street.

For further information, please contact Shira Dicker at 917.403.3989 or by email at


The AVI CHAI Foundation, endowed by Zalman C. Bernstein, z"l, is a private foundation operating in Israel, North America and the former Soviet Union that is committed to the perpetuation of the Jewish people, Judaism and the centrality of the State of Israel to the Jewish people.

In North America, through its work in Jewish day schools and overnight summer camps, AVI CHAI seeks to achieve its mission by fostering high levels of Jewish literacy, deepening religious purposefulness, and promoting Jewish Peoplehood and deeper connections to the State of Israel.CONTACT: Shira Dicker


The organizations and/or individuals who submit materials for distribution by Religion News Service are solely responsible for the facts in and accuracy of their materials. Religion News Service will correct any errors brought to its attention.

Sign In

Forgot Password?

You also can sign in with Facebook or Twitter if you've connected your account to them.

Sign In Using Facebook

Sign In Using Twitter